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Film Review: ‘The Happytime Murders’ Shoots Its Wad Too Early

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CHICAGO – The most noteworthy feature of the puppet-noir comedy “The Happytime Murders” is its use of felt and fluff for nefarious ends, and while that’s not exactly new, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work. But the movie shoots its wad early, and doesn’t have much imagination after that beyond turning silly string into a bodily fluid.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

So once you’ve seen the puppets drinking, smoking, watching porn, doing drugs and having violent puppet sex, there’s not much else left. In a parallel world occupied by humans and puppets, the story centers on a former puppet police detective turned private dick named Phil (voiced by puppeteer Bill Baretta), who is investigating the murders of the cast members of a hit puppet TV show called “The Happytime Gang” … and his brother is one of the dead cast members. To solve the case, he’s forced to re-team with his former partner Connie, played by Melissa McCarthy.

But things that sound funny on paper, land strangely flat here. Skid row is actually a sugar den, with puppets doing lines of pixie sticks like cocaine, and chugging maple syrup straight from the bottle. As depicted, they don’t add up to any actual laughs beyond the slightest of smiles of recognition. There are a few half-hearted attempts at social commentary on racism, but they pop up almost randomly and are discarded as quickly as they appear.

“The Happytime Murders” opens everywhere in on August 24th. Featuring Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks, and the voices of Bill Baretta, Dorien Davies and Kevin Clash. Written by Todd Berger. Directed by Brian Henson. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Spike Walter’s full review of “The Happytime Murders”

Partners Phil (Puppeteer Bill Baretta) and Connie (Melissa McCarthy) in ‘The Happytime Murders’
Photo credit: STX Entertainment

StarContinue reading for Spike Walter’s full review of “The Happytime Murders”

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